|Publication number||US7090395 B2|
|Application number||US 11/099,411|
|Publication date||Aug 15, 2006|
|Filing date||Apr 5, 2005|
|Priority date||Apr 5, 2004|
|Also published as||US20050220272|
|Publication number||099411, 11099411, US 7090395 B2, US 7090395B2, US-B2-7090395, US7090395 B2, US7090395B2|
|Original Assignee||Dov Glazer|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (9), Referenced by (19), Classifications (15), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/559,578, entitled “Wireless Digital Dental X-Ray Sensor with Positioning Apparatus” filed Apr. 5, 2004.
1. Field of the Invention
The invention relates to digital dental x-ray devices. Specifically, the invention relates to an integrated wireless digital dental x-ray sensor, optional on-board viewer and positioning apparatus.
2. Background Information
Dentists and oral surgeons have historically used light and x-radiation (“x-rays”) to obtain and then store images of their patients' teeth, mouths and gums to aid in diagnosis of a patient. In traditional oral and dental radiography, a cartridge containing a piece of radiographic film is placed in the patient's mouth, for example behind a patient's tooth, and an x-ray beam is projected through the tooth and onto the film. The film, after being exposed in this manner, is developed in a dark room or a closed processor using special chemicals to obtain a radiographic image of the tooth.
More recently, the field of film-less dental radiography has emerged. In film-less dental radiography, an x-ray beam is projected through the patient's teeth in the same manner as in the film based methods, but no x-ray sensitive film is used. Instead, an electronic sensor is placed in the patient's mouth behind the tooth to be examined. The electronic sensor may include a charge-coupled device (CCD), a complementary metal oxide semi conductor (CMOS), or any other film-less radiation sensor. The x-rays pass through the teeth and impinge on the electronic sensor, which converts the x-rays into an electrical signal. The electrical signal is often transmitted over a wire to a computer, either directly or though a module containing intermediate processing circuitry. The computer then processes the signal to produce an image on an associated output device, such as a monitor or a printer.
Film-less dental radiography offers several advantages over traditional film-based radiography. First, the electronic sensor is much more sensitive to x-rays than is film, allowing the dosage of x-rays to the patient to be lowered. Also, the image of the tooth is generated by the computer almost instantaneously, thus eliminating the entire film developing process. The operator can quickly determine in real time if the image is the one required for proper diagnosis of the patient or if further imaging is required. In addition, because the images are generated electronically, they can be stored electronically in a computer database. Examples of film-less dental radiography systems include those described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,160,997 to Robert Schwartz, U.S. Pat. No. 5,434,418 to David Schick, and U.S. Published Patent Application No. 2003/0156681 to Egidio Cianciosi et al. These systems can be generally referred to as digital dental x-ray devices. U.S. Published Patent Application No. 2004/0005032 to Nanni Eros discloses a digital dental device in which the sensor communicates with the computer through a wireless connection.
When taking intra-oral film radiographs, a conventional standard of care is to use a paralleling device, a popular version of which is known as the Rinn Instrument (see at www.rinncorp.com). In taking x-rays of all of a patient's teeth, also known as a “Complete Mouth Series”, typically three different x-ray film holders are employed. In addition, the holder for taking periapical films of the upper right and lower left teeth is disassembled and then reassembled in a different configuration to take films of the upper left and lower right teeth. Further, in order to take an x-ray of a tooth undergoing root canal treatment, an additional x-ray holder is used. Furthermore, in some situations the paralleling technique is not possible or practical. Consequently, up to seven different holders are currently used to take dental x-rays.
The existing digital dental devices do not have adequate universal structure for proper positioning of the sensor within the patient's mouth, nor do they provide convenient location or housing of the digital imaging components. Further, there is no existing digital dental device that provides viewing integrated with the sensor. It is an object of the present invention to overcome the deficiencies of these prior art digital dental x-ray devices, and to overcome the deficiencies of these prior art film and digital sensor holders, in order to provide an integrated wireless digital dental x-ray sensor and positioning apparatus providing an efficient, effective device. A further object of the present invention is to provide a single universal positioning device with which any of a patients teeth can be radio-graphed as desired by the operator.
At least some of the above problems with the prior art related to conventional film x-radiography, wired digital x-radiography, and the holders and positioning apparatus used in capturing and storing x-radiographic images, are addressed with an integrated wireless digital dental x-ray sensor and positioning apparatus according to the present invention. The apparatus according to the present invention includes a digital array sensor, such as CCD or CMOS, attached to a distal end of a bite block portion through a hinge assembly. The hinge assembly may be a double hinge allowing rotation of the sensor about two orthogonal pivot axes. Attached to an opposite end of the bite block portion is a housing, such as a tubular housing. The tubular housing houses the electrical components, which includes the digital imaging processing unit, a wireless transmitting unit, a power source for operating the electronics, and a coupling for recharging the power source. The electrical components are coupled to the sensor through wires embedded within the bite block portion and extending through the hinge assembly. A target x-ray ring is attached to the side of the tubular housing for proper direction of the x-rays onto the sensor.
The present invention may further include an eccentric offset pivoting connection for the target ring to allow for aligning the target in proper position based upon the position of the sensor. The present invention may include an articulation joint in the bite block portion for angular positioning thereof to provide further versatility to the apparatus of the present invention.
The present invention may include an “on-board” viewer in the housing and coupled to the sensor. The term “on-board” within the meaning of this specification means that the viewer is integrated into the sensor and bite block elements. The present invention may include a removable target alignment mechanism attached to the housing that aligns with the sensor to allow the user to properly align the X-ray machine relative to the sensor. The present invention may provide that the sensor and target are removable from the housing, wherein the housing may receive other components, such as an intra-oral camera.
These and other advantages of the present invention will be clarified in the description of the preferred embodiment taken together with the attached figures wherein like reference numerals represent like elements throughout.
The bite block portion 14 is a generally flat or planar member formed of plastic or any suitable material. The bite block portion 14 is of minimum thickness that is sized to properly position the sensor 12 within the patient's mouth. There is flexibility to the specific shape of the bite block portion 14 in plan view. In other words the plan outline of the bite block portion 14 may take numerous shapes without effecting the operation of the present invention. The hinge assembly 16 is a double hinge allowing rotation of the sensor 12 about two orthogonal pivot axes. Specifically a first hinge pin 18 is attached to the bite block portion 14 and defines a first pivot axis 20 for the sensor 12. The sensor 12 is coupled to the pin 18 through a rotational coupling or pin 22 that defines a second pivot axis 24. As shown in the figures the pivot axis 20 and 24 are orthogonal to each other with the pivot axis 24 generally parallel to or aligned with the longitudinal axis of the sensor 12. The hinge assembly 16 is substantially similar to that found in contemporary digital camera phones having a pivoting flip top view screen.
Attached to an opposite end of the bite block portion 14 from the hinge assembly 16 is an integral tubular housing 26 extending along a longitudinal axis 28 of the assembly 10. The tubular housing 26 may be formed of plastic, or any conventional material, and houses the electrical components of the assembly 10. The electrical components of the assembly 10 are shown schematically in
The digital imaging processing unit 30 is coupled to the sensor 12 through wires 40 embedded within the bite block portion 14 and extending through the hinge assembly 16. A replaceable, disposable, protective, radio transparent, flexible sheath 42 can be added over the end of the assembly 10 received in the patient's mouth to make the assembly easily reusable. With the sheath 42, the sheath can be disposed from patient to patient with the assembly 10 quickly and easily reused between patients.
A target x-ray member, such as ring 44, is attached to the side of the housing 26 for proper direction of the x-rays onto the sensor 12. The ring 44 is attached to the housing 26 through a pivot or hinge connection 46 with the ring 44 offset or eccentric to the axis 47 of the hinge 46. The offset of the ring 44 allows the ring 44 to be shifted in position relative to the axis 28 of the assembly 10.
An additional advantage of the apparatus 10 over conventional digital x-ray systems is through the inclusion of optional “positional sensors”, or mini-switches, located at each articulating element (e.g. 18, 22, 46 and 48 (discussed below)). Information is sent from each articulating element to the processing unit 30, to indicate the relative position each articulated segment. With current software systems, a predetermined template is chosen prior to taking the digital x-rays, so that when the x-rays are “exposed” they are positioned in the proper location for viewing. For example, x-rays taken in the upper right quadrant of the mouth are positioned in the upper right section of the template and x-rays of the anterior teeth are positioned in the center of the template. If an x-ray is not taken in proper sequence in the prior art systems, it will be positioned in the wrong place on the template. With the inclusion of positional sensors in the apparatus 10, the software of the apparatus 10 can “read” the position of the components of the apparatus and thus automatically determine the correct location to place the exposed image.
A further aspect of the present invention is the provision of an adequately sized hole 54 in the center of bite block portion 14. This space, or hole 54, permits the seating of the apparatus 10 while root canal files are retained in a patients tooth during endodontic treatment.
In operation, the assembly is removed from the docking station 38 and a new sterilized sheath 42 is placed over the end of the assembly 10. The sensor 12 is rotated about axis 24 and 20 to a desired position. The pin 18 allows the sensor 12 to rotate about 180 degrees to opposite sides of the bite block portion 14 rotating about axis 20 while the pin 22 allows angular rotation of the sensor 12 about the axis 24. With the sensor 12 in a desired location the x-ray ring 44 is positioned to align therewith. The sensor 12 is then placed in the patient's mouth and the x-rays transmitted at the sensor 12 through the target ring 44 using conventional x-ray devices 50 shown in
As described above, the sensor 12 is preferably of CCD or CMOS type, but other x-ray sensitive digital arrays, also called film-less radio sensors, could be utilized. The bite block portion 14 is a generally flat or planar member formed of plastic or any suitable material. The bite block portion 14 is of minimum thickness that is sized to properly position the sensor 12 within the patient's mouth. The hinge assembly 16 defines a pivot axis 20 for the sensor 12.
The bite block portion 14 and sensor 12 are removably attached to a housing 126, such as by plug 128. The housing 126 may be formed of plastic, or any conventional material, and houses the electrical components of the assembly 100. When the bite block portion 14 and sensor 12 is attached to, i.e. plugged into, the housing 126, these elements are considered integral thereto. The electrical components of the assembly 100, such as shown schematically in
The digital imaging processing unit 30 of the apparatus 100 is coupled to the sensor 12 through wires 40 embedded within the bite block portion 14 and extending through the hinge assembly 16 as described above in connection with assembly 10. Alternately, the digital imaging processing unit 30 of the apparatus 100 is coupled to the sensor 12 through wires 40 embedded within housing 126 as described above in connection with assembly 10. The replaceable, disposable, protective, radio transparent, flexible sheath 42 can be added over the sensor 12 end of the assembly 100 which is received in the patient's mouth to make the assembly easily reusable. With the sheath 42, the sheath 42 can be disposed from patient to patient with the assembly 100 quickly and easily reused between patients.
A target x-ray member, such as platform 144, is attached to the housing 126 for proper direction of the x-rays onto the sensor 12. The platform 144 is attached to a post 148 through a pivot or hinge connection 146 with the platform 144. The post 148 has a plug 150 similar to the plug 128 for attaching the post 148 to the housing 126 (except the plug 148 need not have any electrical connections). The hinge 146 allows the platform 144 to be shifted in position relative to the axis 152 to align with sensor 12 as shown in
With the on-board viewer 140 the assembly could operate as a stand alone device. The doctor can view the images directly on the viewer 140. The images can be stored and transferred from the housing 126 with a memory card 142, similar to those found in commercial digital cameras. Controls 154 allow the operator to operate the assembly as desired, e.g. cycle through images, power on and off, enlarge a given image, etc. Essentially the housing 126 can be considered the functional equivalent of a digital camera wherein the digital input for the images comes from the sensor 12.
The apparatus 100 also allows for the inclusion of optional “positional sensors”, or mini-switches, located at each articulating element (e.g. hinges 116 and 146). Information is sent from each articulating element to the processing unit 30, to indicate the relative position each articulated segment.
The apparatus 100 can be easily used for other purposes, such as a viewer for an intra-oral digital camera.
The invention has been described with reference to the preferred embodiment. Obvious modifications and alterations will occur to others upon reading and understanding the proceeding detailed description. It is intended that the invention be construed as including all such modifications and alterations. The scope of the present invention is intended to be construed in connection with the attached claims and equivalents thereto.
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|U.S. Classification||378/191, 433/29|
|International Classification||G03B42/04, G03B42/02, G03C5/16, A61B6/14, H05G1/64|
|Cooperative Classification||H04N5/32, A61B6/4423, G03B42/042, A61B6/145, A61B6/4233|
|European Classification||A61B6/42B6, G03B42/04D, A61B6/14B|
|Sep 18, 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Dec 27, 2011||AS||Assignment|
Effective date: 20091019
Owner name: SCHICK TECHNOLOGIES, INC., NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:GLAZER, DOV;REEL/FRAME:027447/0807
|Nov 30, 2012||AS||Assignment|
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:SCHICK TECHNOLOGIES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:029380/0525
Owner name: SIRONA DENTAL, INC., NEW YORK
Effective date: 20121001
|Jan 23, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8